Saturday, May 9, 2009


Today's Hat Squad for Dom DiMaggio also serves as today's "As Seen On TV" showcase for the DiMaggio Brothers......



I was looking through the Toobworld Central archives yesterday, and I came across the Shakespearean heading of "Skimble Skamble Stuff". I haven't used that in a while, but it would be for a collection of TV odds and ends.

And by the great god of TV Coincidence, I have a goodly sized mish-mash of them ready to go!

1] 'Harper's Island' is 17 miles off the coast of Seattle.

2] In 2002, John Wakefield killed six people on 'Harper's Island'.

3] Two wineries in the D.C. area - 'Bedford Creek' winery and Dunwood Winery. ('Bones')

4] The Dunwood winery had been in the Dunwood family since 1928. ('Bones')

5] 'Hope's Edge' is a soap opera. ('The Ghost Whisperer')

6] is a website that gives away info on upcoming movies and TV shows. ('The Ghost Whisperer')

7] Speckled Stallion had the 3rd longest set at Woodstock, after The Who. ('Law & Order: Criminal Intent')

8] "Dark Days" was the name of their album. ('Law & Order: Criminal Intent')

9] NYPD Detective Hank O'Shea worked the Malcolm X murder. ('The Unusuals')

10] 'Tempest Island' was a TV soap opera in which Dr. Phillip battled the Cassetti family.

11] An accountant named Cal at Ojai Foods used to be a minor league ball-player. By an amazing "coincidence", he has a twin brother who also plays minor league ball - Rafael Ramirez. ('In Plain Sight')

12) Richard Castle has had 26 best-selling mystery novels. ('Castle')

13) "Birth Of Fear 3" is a movie that is already overseas for foreign distribution. ('The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency')

14) There is a SavingsMart in Yonkers; it's much like WalMart, CostCo, Buy More, and Workbench. ('Law & Order')

15) More TV cereals - Berry Boom & Cocoa Munchees from 'Fringe'. And Nuts&More from 'In Plain Sight'. It was previously seen in 'Chuck' and 'Grey's Anatomy'. There was also a box of Nuts & Oats, but I can't remember from where.

16) Malcolm Ross is trying to market Sacred Turtle Beer. ('Harper's Island')

Finally, the following birthday's were listed on 'Harper's Island':

Trish Wellington - 11/22
Shea Allen - 2/20
Chloe Carter - 9/17/1983
Beth Barrington - 8/21
Lucy Daramour - 7/19/1982
Abby Mills- 4/25/1983
Francine Wellington - 2/11
Jennifer Stanwyck - 12/27
Keira Riddle - 8/2

That's all for now!



The Red Sox announced today that Dominic DiMaggio, who had been a seven-time all-star for the team he played on for eleven seasons, died at the age of 92 on Friday.

As everybody must know, his brother was Joe DiMaggio who played for the rival New York Yankees.

Both of them, along with their brother Vinnie, were portrayed in a fake commercial for DiMaggio's On The Wharf seafood restaurant. Seen on SCTV back in 1982, Eugene Levy played Dom (pictured on the right) and Martin Short as Vinnie (on the left). And as "Joltin' Joe"? Special guest star Bill Murray.

The gimmick of the restaurant was that if you could throw one past Joe, you'd get your meal free.


Friday, May 8, 2009


MediumRob, of "The Medium Is Not Enough" infamy (link to the left, Lotus Eaters!), posted his weekly meme challenge:

"What's your favorite TV moment?"

(Okay, I think he spelled it with a "u"...)
So here's what I posted:
Okay, just to get some true TV moments out of the way:

The big good-bye scene in 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show': When Lou's voice cracks with "I treasure you people", the lump in my throat is almost unbearable.

From 'The West Wing': "I serve at the pleasure of the President." Always makes me want to join their merry band and throw my lot in with them.

'The Prisoner' - from the finale, but not the Big Reveal of Number One. It's the road trip afterwards as they head back to London.

'Lost' - from the first season finale as they launch Michael's boat. It's that swell of Michael Giacchino's music that sells it for me.

Thanks, Rob, for mentioning Uncle Bryn's reading of the letter.

Boy, I'm going for some sappy ones here. But if they can affect an old cynic like me, they have to be good.

It wouldn't be proper not to have a 'Who' mention here - "Blink", the goodbye to Billy scene leading into Sally galvanizing for action (again, music helps.) But for instant shock value, when she stands up from getting the key and the angel behind her has changed position.

And then my first exposure to 'Monty Python' courtesy of a US summer replacement show called 'Comedy World' - presented as a fake news program. The two sketches shown were of the flasher with the "Boo" sign and of the milkman enticed to come upstairs. At the time I wanted to see more - if there was the promise of seeing Carol Cleveland in lingerie again. Of course later that took a back seat to the off the wall humor.

Okay, here's my TRUE favorite TV moment - and it didn't even happen on TV!

July, 1969 - I'm at Boy Scout camp in Connecticut when one of the counselors stands up at dinner and makes an announcement:

"I have some very sad news to report...." And immediately my mind leaps to the moon landing which was going on but being at camp, I couldn't see it! I'm thinking the crew is all dead on the Moon.

"Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion is dead."

Probably my first case of a TV double-fake. Later it did hit me for what it was, as I liked that show 'Daktari'......

Actually, I have another one of similar nature. I was up at the Lake cottage with my family, back in the 80s, when I was watching an episode of 'Cagney & Lacey' with my Dad and one of my brothers.

It's the episode in which Cagney sparred with a famous hotel burglar named Grand; he even wrote a book about his exploits. You can probably guess the title of the book.....

Suddenly, my Dad turns to me and AJ and says, "I just want you guys to know that I love you."

Dad wasn't one of those touchy-feely new age Dads who would say something like that. We were caught off-guard by it and were only able to just mumble an "I love you" in return. But that's something I treasure and if TV sparked it, I'm grateful.

I've gone over that episode in my head ever since and hope to see it again someday, but I can't figure out what may have inspired him to say it.

And as I was putting together this post, I suddenly remembered I had forgotten one, so I went back:
Ahhh! I forgot one, which I was going to add after the 'West Wing' moment -
In the 1st season finale of 'Slings & Arrows', when the young actor nails all of the checkpoints for playing 'Hamlet' in his debut. That actually had me thrusting my fist in the air and shouting "Yeah!"


Just because we're inducting Queen Victoria today into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, that doesn't mean we should abandon our daily "As Seen On TV" feature.

And so today we have a man who met Queen Victoria:
Normally I'd prefer an actual scene rather than a promo picture, but since Barnum was such a showman, I thought this was an appropriate image to represent him.

Here is an actual scene from "Barnum", in which P.T. pitches woo:

And here is a portrait of Barnum with perhaps his most famous star, Tom Thumb:





For the second week of our "May Queen" inductions into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, we're going with a real Queen - Victoria, the ruler of the British Empire who gave her name to an age.

Here is a list of the actresses who have played Queen Victoria on Television:

Patti Allan

. . . "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne" (2000)

Avril Angers
. . . "Network First: Victoria and Albert" (1997)

Renée Asherson
. . . "Happy and Glorious" (1952)

Pamela Binns
. . . "Omnibus" (1967) {Landseer: A Victorian Comedy}

Anita Björk
. . . "Den goda viljan" (1991)

Claire Bloom
. . . "Robert Montgomery Presents" (1950) {Victoria Regina (#8.31)}

Honora Burke
. . . Hands of a Murderer (1990)

Pauline Collins
. . . "Doctor Who" (2005) {Tooth and Claw (#2.2)}

Fay Compton
. . . "Journey to the Unknown" (1968) {Poor Butterfly (#1.6)}

Jane Connell
. . . "Bewitched" (1964) {Aunt Clara's Victoria Victory (#3.26)}

Annette Crosbie
. . . "Edward the Seventh" (1975)

Alice De Mallet De Donas
. . . "Red Dwarf" (1988) {Meltdown (#4.6)}

Janine Duvitski
. . . The Young Visiters (2003)

Mavis Edwards (Older)
. . . "Fall of Eagles" (1974) {The Last Tsar (#1.5)}

Victoria Hamilton
. . . . "Victoria & Albert" (2001)

Julie Harris
. . . "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1951) {Victoria Regina}

Lauren Hartley
. . . Victorians Uncovered: The Perfect Marriage (2001)

Helen Hayes
. . . "Robert Montgomery Presents" (1950) {Victoria Regina (#2.10)}

Margaret Heale
. . . "Rhodes" (1996)

Jacquelyn Hyde
. . . The Wild Wild West Revisited (1979)

Glenda Jackson
. . . "The Morecambe & Wise Show" (1968) {1972 Christmas Show}

Pamela Kosh
. . . "Northern Exposure" (1990) {Baby Blues (#5.11)}
[a dream sequence, maybe?]

Rosemary Leach
. . . "Disraeli" (1978)

Lu Leonard
. . . "Tall Tales and Legends" (1985) {Annie Oakley}

Rhoda Lewis
. . . "Network First: Victoria and Albert" (1997)

Bronwen Mantel
. . . Barnum (1986)

Doreen Mantle
. . . "Shadow Play" (2004)

Miriam Margolyes
. . . Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988)

Anna Massey
. . . "Around the World in 80 Days" (1989/I)

Mollie Maureen
. . . "The Edwardians" (1972) {Daisy (#1.7)}

Marina McConnell
. . . "Young Sherlock: The Mystery of the Manor House" (1982)

Frances McDevitt
. . . "Queen Victoria's Empire" (2001)

Judi Meredith
. . . "Telephone Time" (1956) {The Consort (#2.19)}

Perlita Neilson
. . . "Fall of Eagles" (1974) {The English Princess (#1.2)}

Christine Ozanne
. . . "The Flaxton Boys" (1969) {1854: The Dog (#1.2)}

Tessa Pointing
. . . The First Black Britons (2005)

Jan Ravens
. . . "2DTV" (2001)

Joyce Redman (Older)
. . . Victoria & Albert (2001)

Sheila Reed
. . . "Lillie" (1978)

Kate Reid
. . . "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1951) {Invincible Mr. Disraeli - 1963}

Erica Rogers
. . . "Shaka Zulu" (1986)

Patricia Routledge
. . . "Victoria Regina" (1964)

Prunella Scales
. . . "A History of Britain" (2000) {Victoria and Her Sisters (#3.2)}

Prunella Scales
. . . Looking for Victoria (2003)

Prunella Scales
. . . Station Jim (2001)

Gladys Spencer
. . . "BBC Play of the Month" (1965) {Gordon of Khartoum (#1.4)}

Jessica Spencer
. . . "Cribb" (1980) {The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (#2.3)}

Shirley Steedman
. . . "East Lynne" (1976)

Lurene Tuttle
. . . "Voyagers!" (1982) {Buffalo Bill & Annie Oakley Play the Palace (#1.12)}

Zena Walker
. . . "Number 10" (1983) {Dizzy (#1.6)}

Wendy Worthington
. . . "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer" (1998) {Saving Mr. Lincoln (#1.3)}

In that mix we should also give (dis)honorable mention to Terry Jones and Michael Palin, who both portrayed Queen Victoria in sketches from 'Monty Python's Flying Circus'. (Glenda Jackson was also Her Majesty in Skitlandia.)

Not all of them can be considered the "actual" Victoria of Earth Prime-Time, but definitely we have to include Victoria Hamilton as the younger version. Wendy Worthington would be the Victoria in that TV dimension where all the historical figures were idiots - along with her episode, that world contains 'When Things Were Rotten' and 'That's My Bush!'

To be the official portrait of Queen Victoria in the TV Crossover Hall of Fame, originally we were going to go with Annette Crosbie who had the most appearances thanks to her role in the mini-series about her son, "Edward The Seventh". However, Prunella Scales has three different productions to her credit as the Queen, and she does look amazingly like Victoria. And when she was made a Commander of the British Empire, Queen Elizabeth acknowledged her presence as the Old Vic by commenting that maybe Ms. Scales should be awarding the honor to herself!

So here's to the Queen for a Week, Victoria Regina!


Thursday, May 7, 2009


Tonight on FOX, FBI Agent Seeley Booth of 'Bones' meets Stewie Griffin of 'Family Guy'!

It looks like Booth is having an hallucination, not a full-bore crossover from the Tooniverse. But such a thing is pozz'ble, as shown by Drew Carey (with Daffy Duck) and Jerry Seinfeld (with Superman).

It's a shame too, since we know Stewie can cross over into the live action Toobworld. He and Brian did so during the Emmy Awards a few years back.

Toby O'B


Sadly, we have to banish 'Castle' from the main Toobworld of Earth Prime-Time. Last week's episode confirmed that Castle's friend the Mayor - aka Bobby - is the Mayor of New York City.

The real world mayor, Mike Bloomberg, must hold that position in Toobworld as well. He's made appearances as such on '30 Rock' and 'Law & Order' and "A Muppets Christmas: Letter To Santa". (Which makes me wonder - has he been co-opted by the Scheinhart Wig Company?)

So off 'Castle' goes, entertaining as it is. But at least I'm going to have it set up shop in the TV dimension of 'The West Wing', sharing space with 'Mr. Sterling', 'Smallville', the "re-imagined" 'Battlestar Galactica'.... Not too shabby for company there!

But I'm sure that the sci-fi (Please - NOT SiFy!) conventions must apply when it comes to alternate dimensions - there would still be an author named Richard Castle and a Detective Kate Beckett in the main Toobworld. Only they banter with Mayor Blloomberg when at charity functions.

I don't know what the future holds for either show, but now I'm hoping there WON'T ever be a crossover between 'Castle' and 'The Unusuals'. I don't want to lose the 2nd Squad to a different dimension as well.....



Jenna Elfman, of 'Dharma & Greg' fame, can be considered a character in the TV Universe even though she has yet to appear as herself in any TV drama or sitcom. That's because Alfa, the rogue Active from 'Dollhouse', mentioned that he had gone to grade school with the actress while he was disguised as the designer of the Dollhouse. So there's one notch in her belt for the League of Themselves.....

And just putting this out there - I think she should be playing Andrea Anders' sister.....



TENAHA, Texas (CNN) -- Roderick Daniels was traveling through East Texas in October 2007 when, he says, he was the victim of a highway robbery.Police in the small East Texas town of Tenaha are accused of unjustly taking valuables from motorists.

The Tennessee man says he was ordered to pull his car over and surrender his jewelry and $8,500 in cash that he had with him to buy a new car.But Daniels couldn't go to the police to report the incident.The men who stopped him were the police.Daniels was stopped on U.S. Highway 59 outside Tenaha, near the Louisiana state line. Police said he was driving 37 mph in a 35 mph zone. They hauled him off to jail and threatened him with money-laundering charges -- but offered to release him if he signed papers forfeiting his property.

"I actually thought this was a joke," Daniels told CNN.But he signed."To be honest, I was five, six hundred miles from home," he said. "I was petrified."

For more on the story, click here.

Fans of 'The Rockford Files' surely recognized the scenario. Jimbo found himself in the same situation when he visited Pastoria, California, in the episode "Pastoria Prime Pick". (It's also one of my favorite episodes, up there with "South By Southwest" and "The Battle-Axe And The Exploding Cigars".)

Care to see the episode?



We celebrated one famous Italian yesterday with a showcase for Marco Polo. And today we have Roman Emperor Claudius.....

"I, Claudius"

Derek Jacobi

From Wikipedia:

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus or Claudius I ( 1 August 10 BC – 13 October 54 AD ) (Tiberius Claudius Drusus from birth to AD 4, then Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus from then until his accession) was the fourth Roman Emperor, a member of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from 24 January AD 41 to his death in AD 54. Born in Lugdunum in Gaul (modern-day Lyon, France), to Drusus and Antonia Minor, he was the first Roman Emperor to be born outside Italia.

He was reportedly afflicted with some type of disability, and his family had virtually excluded him from public office until his consulship with his nephew Caligula in AD 37. This infirmity may have saved him from the fate of many other Roman nobles during the purges of Tiberius' and Caligula's reigns; potential enemies did not see him as a serious threat to them. His very survival led to his being declared emperor (reportedly because the Praetorian Guard insisted) after Caligula's assassination, at which point he was the last adult male of his family.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009


On April 4th, 1975, CBS broadcast "Black Bart", a pilot based on the Mel Brooks movie "Blazing Saddles". In the roles created by Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder, Lou Gossett and Steve Landesberg played Bart and the Waco Kid, respectively (although Landesberg's character was now known as Reb Jordan. Also in the cast were Noble Willingham, Gerrit Graham, and Brooke Adams.

I bring this up as an excuse to play a clip from the movie universe - that of Dom DeLuise's cameo in "Blazing Saddles" as Buddy Bizarre, director of Hollywood musicals.

When this movie came out during my freshman year at college, I was having a great time laughing at all the crude humor. But when the camera pulled away during the big fight scene to pan across the studio lot, I knew was watching pure genius.

And then Buddy Bizarre's girls go into "French Mistake".

So here it is - probably the funniest fight scene in movie history and perhaps the perfect tribute to Dom DeLuise....

(But for me, it's Slim Pickens who has the best line in this scene. I always thought the stage-hands at the Broadway theatres for the Mel Brooks' musicals should have had his quote emblazoned on their work shirts....)



Nothing more enjoyable to waste away my morning than to wallow in YouTube with videos of favorite artists. Last week I spent a good portion of the morning watching Steely Dan videos, and before that, Bea Arthur classic moments.

Today, sadly, I looked around at the offerings under Dom DeLuise's name, for the same reason I was checking out Bea Arthur's collection.

Here are two short student films he made a few years back. First up, "Out Of Order", which comes pretty close to being a modern silent movie. In fact, I watched it at work where I have no access to speakers and I didn't miss what little dialogue there is in the piece. (Although it's always fun to hear those plaintive little squeals and sighs of exasperation of which DeLuise was a master.)

And then there's "The Healer", which they filmed on the quick after finishing "Out Of Order". It looks like it was mostly improv as well....



Here's an appearance by Dom DeLuise which can be interpreted in a couple of different ways......

"Mike Hammer"
- A Death in the Family (1984)
While fighting his way through a parking lot for city buses, Mike Hammer dove from the roof of a bus and through the window of another bus. When he got to his feet, he found Dom DeLuise sitting in the back of the bus with Burt Reynolds. Without missing a beat, the private eye jumped out the other side, and that was that for the two stars.

As far as I can tell, neither of the two stars were identified as themselves. So they could have been appearing as other characters whom they've played on television. And since 'Mike Hammer' took place in New York City, it would help if Reynolds and DeLuise had TV characters who were NY-based.


From the

'Hawk' (2966)
John Hawk was a full-blooded Iroquois employed as a special detective with the New York City District Attorney's office. With partner Dan Carter, Hawk was assigned to all sorts of different cases, ranging from murder to arson to organized crime. Because of his background, he occasionally dealt with racism inside and outside the department. (Written by Marty McKee)

'Lotsa Luck' (1973)
New York City bus company's lost-and-found department manager and bachelor Stanley Belmont lives with his bossy mother, his sister Olive and her unemployed husband Arthur all of who live off Stanley. Arthur is perfectly content to live with Stanley and avoid finding a job. Bummy is Stanley's long time friend and co-worker who drives a bus. They take lunch breaks together when they scheme to resolve Stanley's problems. (Written by J.E. McKillop)

I doubt there would be any confusion on the part of the tele-cognoscenti who frequent my blog, but Burt Reynolds played Detective Lt. Hawk and Dom DeLuise played Stanley Belmont.

So in November of 1984, when this episode of 'Mike Hammer' took place, it could be that Lt. Hawk had come to that parking lot for city buses in order to question Stanley about a case. In Toobworld, where Coincidence must have its own demi-god, it could be that it was the same case that Mike Hammer was working on!

Otherwise, if they were appearing as Reynolds and DeLuise, and they were in the back seat of a bus that wasn't in service..... Well, you have to wonder how close was their friendship?

Just sayin', is all......



As a member of the "League Of Themselves", Dom DeLuise has been eligible for induction into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame for some time. And even if he never learned about it, I wish I had thought to do so while he was still alive. He was a favorite of mine, one of the big personal losses for 2009 (like McGoohan), so I may pull a few strings to get him inducted sooner than might have happened otherwise.

Here's a look at the shows that qualify him for entry into the Hall......

First off, we don't often include variety show appearances as part of the qualification process, but they can be included just to flavor the overall tally. However, when someone appears as himself on a puppet variety show, then an exception is made. After all, they are now truly fictionalized, acting alongside "living" puppets. So Dom's appearances on 'The Shari Lewis Show' and 'The Muppet Show' would count towards his induction into the Hall.

As for the sitcom appearances of "Tele-Dom":

"The Naked Truth"
- The Neighbor of Bath (1998)

Nora told the fiancee of her friend Dave that she was lucky to have such a good man, even if Dave shook a margarita like Dom DeLuise. That night, while he was fixing them margaritas, the fiancee couldn't help but envision him as DeLuise.

Now, technically he was an hallucination, but in order for the girl to imagine him Dom DeLuise has to exist in Toobworld in the first place. So that does count.

- Bringing Home the Bacon (1996)

While working on a new show that was similar to the movie "Babe", Cybill rescued a pig that lost its acting gig and so was doomed to become a different kind of ham. Dom DeLuise, along with Daisy Fuentes and Denver Pyle, appeared in the episode.

"Murphy Brown"
- Dick and Dottie (1995)

After making an insulting comment about a popular talk show host, Murphy's boss ordered her to make a public apology which only worsened the situation. DeLuise may have a guest on that talk show.....

Dom DeLuise was a big man whose body housed an even bigger spirit. I'm surprised that with such an outsized personality, he didn't appear in more sitcoms as himself, to rival the likes of Milton Berle in the League of Themselves. But with all of those variety show and talk show appearances, plus so many funny characters in the movies, I guess I shouldn't be greedy.

There was a cameo he did with Burt Reynolds in an episode of the 1980's version of 'Mike Hammer', but I'm going to save that for a separate post. I think that has a more interesting pozz'bility for Toobworld....



"Marco Polo"

Ian Somerhalder


Tuesday, May 5, 2009


From the New York Times:

Dom DeLuise, a pudgy actor whose manic grin and air of desperation added comic bounce to films like “The Twelve Chairs,” “Blazing Saddles” and “Cannonball Run,” died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 75 and lived in Pacific Palisades.

The Associated Press reported that his son Michael had told a television and radio station in Los Angeles that his father had died after a long illness.

Mr. DeLuise first made his mark on television in the early 1960’s as Dominick the Great, an inept but determined magician trying desperately to maintain his poise as one trick after another failed. He created the character for “The Garry Moore Show” and brought it to the CBS variety series “The Entertainers,” where the ensemble cast included Bob Newhart and Carol Burnett, and “The Dean Martin Summer Show.”

I'll have more about Dom DeLuise, always one of my favorites, in the next few days. But for now, here he is as Dominick the Great in his first appearance on 'The Dean Martin Show':

Toby O'B


I'm way behind on my episodes of 'Reaper' - I have about seven now queued up in my DVR. So if mention of this particular episode only summons dim memories, don't go running for the memory pills..... Now that Andi Prendergast has become the new manager of the Work Bench after the removal of Ted, she set about trying to earn the opportunity. And the first order of business was to get Bert "Sock" Wysocki to get rid of the fake identity he was using to draw a second salary*. The name of the fictional employee? Les Nessman.

Fans of classic TV sitcoms will remember Les Nessman as the pig news-loving radio reporter for 'WKRP In Cincinnatti', played by Richard Sanders. The great thing about the use of this name is that it isn't a Zonk! Sock - nor anybody else in the episode - never mentioned Les Nessman as anything but a Work Bench employee; we never heard WKRP mentioned as a TV show.

But I also would have had no problem with 'WKRP' being said... so long as it wasn't referred to as a TV show, but as an actual radio station's call letters..

Here's how I think it can play out:

1) Les Nessman was no longer at WKRP but found employ at a radio station within the broadcast range of Seattle since the last incarnation of 'WKRP In Cincinnatti' went off the air here in the real world. (Sanders was involved in that sequel, as were the actors Frank Bonner and the late Gordon Jump.) And that's how Sock came up with the name.


2) Although evidence from the show suggests otherwise, perhaps the Wysocki family lived in the Cincinnatti area before moving to Seattle. And that's where Sock first heard Les Nessman on the air.

Actually, there's a third option which is much simpler - it was a complete coincidence that Sock came up with a name that happened to be the same as an already established TV character. And following the rule of Occam's Razor, I think we'll go with that for the splainin.
Here's the boiled-down recap of the Les Nessman scenes:

And here's the 'WKRP In Cincinnatti' episode which contains Les Nessman's most infamous moment on the radio....

Toby O'B

*The way she got Sock to give up the second salary? It would have made Edward Albee proud......


"Thinking about ('Lost') is half the fun.
But over-thinking it just becomes taxing and, worse, pointlessly taxing.
I can't be sure anyone knows where it's all going even if we think we do
Tim Goodman
The San Francisco Chronicle

By this point in the game of 'Lost', I'm really trying my best not to throw out wild theories which could better integrate the series into the overall scheme of the TV Universe. Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof know where they're going with the show and it'll be much better for me if I just sit back and enjoy the ride. There will be plenty of time later to make connections to other series once 'Lost' completes its run in 2010.

In connection with this new-found "wisdom", I've also got to man up and discard those theories that I've proposed in the past which no longer fit the blueprint for 'Lost'.

One of these was my theory from two years ago that the Curio Shopkeeper (whom we know now is Eloise Hawking, mother of Daniel Faraday) was actually the White Guardian of Time from 'Doctor Who'.
In the episode "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Ms. Hawking was just a one-shot guest appearance, a woman of mystery and seemingly magical powers who seemed to exist outside Time. And the fact that she was all in white added to the suggestion that she was the White Guardian.

But now we know she is just as human as the other characters on the show, although based on last week's 100th episode, perhaps she's a bit heartlessly inhuman.....

Anyway, this is what the Toobworld Dynamic is all about. We throw out ideas and see if any stick. If it's invalidated later, we have to adapt. Sorry, Kansans, we have to evolve.

All is in flux.

Toby O'B


"But is it real, though?
I mean, witches, black magic and all that, it’s real?"
"‘Course it isn’t!"
"Well, how am I supposed to know?
I’ve only just started believing in time travel.
Give me a break."
"Looks like witchcraft, but it isn’t. Can’t be."
'Doctor Who'

Of course, in Toobworld, Magic does exist. We've seen it in episodes of 'Supernatural'. We've seen an afrit in an episode of 'The X-Files'. Magic used to be found in Sunnydale, California, and it still resides on Morning Glory Circle in Westport, Connecticut.

The point is, the Doctor was wrong. He's probably the greatest scientific mind in the TV Universe, but he's not perfect. As much as Russell T. Davies tries to fashion him to be some kind of god, he's just a Gallifreyan man, Time Lord though he may be.

As much as we like to believe otherwise, the heroes in our TV shows are not perfect, not all-knowing. And just because they declare something that doesn't make it true. At best it just means that they have not been exposed to the actual truth about the situation.

"There are no vampires. Sadly."
Dr. Walter Bishop

Walter was emphatic about this point, but there's O'Bviously something more going on here. Before 'True Blood' came along, we could have splained away Walter's declaration as being from a man who had never made contact with vampires, or with evidence of their existence.
But now, thanks to the synthetic blood-drink Tru-Blood, vampires have come out into the open and live among mortal humans. It's true that we don't see them in every TV show (or do we? I've got my suspicions about Henry Cole on 'The Unusuals'. Kidding.), but that doesn't mean they're not out there. It's the same situation with the puppet people, the lunar waste dump explosion, and the Eugenics Wars. They all exist in Toobworld, but that doesn't mean they always have to be the focus of attention in each show. How many times did Vietnam come up in ALL of the sitcoms of the late sixties and early seventies. In the grand scheme of things, not often.
The fact that Walter denies their existence then must have some deeper meaning. I don't think it's like a Republican presidential candidate denying the concept of evolution, or the leader of Iran denying the Holocaust. But there must be some reason why Walter is obstinate about vampires not being real. The only pozz'ble splainin I'm willing to entertain right now, however, is that while he was incarcerated in the mental institution, Walter wasn't kept abreast of what was happening in the outside world.

Otherwise, I don't think that would be a smart move to make such conjectures when it comes to a TV character in a show that's still in production. I'll just leave it as one of Walter's mysteries......

Oh yeah. And the Doctor lies about his age.

'Doctor Who'
'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'
'The X-Files'
'Sesame Street'
'Space: 1999'
'True Blood'
'Star Trek'

Toby O'B


Just before Jay Leno ended up in the hospital last week, he took a playful jab at Susan Boyle. She's the Scottish woman who has charmed the world via the Internet after her first appearance on 'Britain's Got Talent'. (I'm not going to bother linking it; you've probably all seen it by now anyway.)

So today's "As Seen On TV" showcase is from the sketch comedy TV dimension of Skitlandia: The story of Susan Boyle will no doubt show up fictionalized in several TV series next season. Not only does it have that "ripped from the headlines" quality that will appeal to 'Law & Order' and/or any of its spin-offs as a launching pad for a murder investigation, but it could veer off into any number of genres for exploitation.

Just imagine if 'The Drew Carey Show' was still in production. Here would be the perfect plotline for Mimi Bobeck! 'Boston Legal' could have represented such a woman in court, who only wanted her chance to prove herself.

It could also go off on a 'Supernatural' tangent, not just for that show but for 'Reaper', 'Fringe', 'Torchwood', 'Doctor Who' - maybe a fictionalized Susan Boyle could be an alien hell-bent on controlling Earth with her voice via viral video. (Gotta love dem alliterations, mon!)

Or she could be a cyborg sent from the future - if 'The Sarah Connor Chronicles' should ever come back. On a similar behind the scenes note, maybe 'Chuck' could flash on her while watching the video and discover another nefarious plot by The Ring. (Although today's pronouncement from NBC doesn't look good for what was one of the best series on TV these past two seasons......)

Anyhoo, this little jab by Jay Leno might be the first salvo in the Susan Boyle of Toobworld invasion.

And if she really does have supernatural powers, maybe she caused Leno to end up in the hospital!

Toby O'B

Monday, May 4, 2009


"Have you ever known anyone who killed somebody?
I think my grandfather may have,
But he never really liked to talk about what happened at Kent State
Liz Lemon
'30 Rock'

That quote came up in "The Ones", an episode which ran a couple weeks ago. It was thirty-nine years ago today that the 4 students at Kent State were killed at an anti-war rally. I don't know if the writers of '30 Rock' knew that the anniversary was coming up when they wrote that line, but it raises the question: "Is there a moratorium to observe when it comes to tragedy? And for how long?"

Lincoln's assassination has been fodder for jokes on TV - I'm thinking of the sketch about Lincoln's time machine in the Toonces special. And 'Family Guy' made a Pez connection to Kennedy's assassination in their first episode. Lots of TV shows have built episodes around the sinking of the Titanic and other tragedies.

But I don't know..... Something about the events at Kent State just don't feel right as a source for humor. That '30 Rock' line certainly brought me up short in what was otherwise a very funny episode......

What do you think?


WNKW made a return appearance on 'Fringe' this past week. As I mentioned in an earlier post, WNKW should be a NYC TV station, as it was the place of employ for the main characters in 'Jack & Jill'. Before, my splainin was that its reporters were filing news reports that were then picked up by other news outlets from outside their broadcast area. This would splain why WNKW showed up onscreen from the Homestead, Florida, region in 'Invasion', and why it appears now on 'Fringe' which is generally taking place in the Boston area.

However, this doesn't splain why the call letters were for Channel 42 in the first episode, and for Channel 5 in the second.
There could be three ways to go with this.

1) Two different TV channels in the Boston area picked up the news reports from WNKW, probably small independent stations without the facilities to produce their own news broadcasts.

2) Channel 42, being a UHF station, could be a satellite for Channel 5, which would have the stronger signal, but which might not reach the area covered by 42. (I don't know if this still happens, but I know it used to be widespread just in the smaller state of Connecticut back when I was growing up there.)

3) The station that has the contract for use of WNKW news reports applied for and received permission from the FCC to upgrade their signal from UHF 42 to VHF 5.

Perhaps most of these crunchy bits of pretzel logic (Sorry, been in a Steely Dan mood all week) might not make sense or are not feasible in the real world. But then again, the rules can be different in Toobworld.

Toby O'B


(Jack) Kemp was a former football star turned congressman who moved the Republican Party to a commitment to tax cuts as the central focus of economic policy. He was 73 and was the Republican nominee for Vice President in 1996.

On February 13, 1988, Justine Bateman hosted 'Saturday Night Live' (with musical guest Terence Trent D'Arby). The opening sketch was of the Republican Presidential Candidates debate, and it was one of the best political sketches ever for that show, (mostly due to the surprise appearance by former cast member Dan Aykroyd as Senator Bob Dole).

One of the candidates was "Jack Kemp", as played by Phil Hartman. Here are two excerpts from that sketch:

Pat Schroeder (Nora Dunn): Let's turn to Jack Kemp. Jack, as much as anyone, you have been identified with supply-side economics. But as the supply-side caused these huge deficits, and since you're offering simply more of the same, how do you plan to balance the budget?

Jack Kemp: Well, the whole thing boils down to leadership, Pat. You know, when I played quarterback for the old Buffalo Bills, I gave 110%, and that inspired the guys around me to give 110% or better. The same thing applies to this budget - with the proper leadership, you can get that budget to give 150%! That means that you can spend 80% on the military, 40% on education, and still have 30% left over for rebuilding our infrastructure!

And this came near the end.....

Pat Schroeder: I'd like to ask one question and address it to each of you: you are all articulate and attracive candidates, but only one of you can win the Presidential nomination. Would you accept the second spot on the Republican ticket? Congressman Kemp?

Jack Kemp: Pat, absolutely not. I've been a quarterback, I have no interest in being the waterboy.


Toby O'B


At first I was going to post this on April 24, when the Red Sox and the Yankees had their first match-up this season at Fenway. But because of the circumstances in the episode, I thought it better to wait until today, when they meet in the new Yankee Stadium.

In the 'Voyagers!' episode "Cleo And The Babe", Jeffrey idolizes the home run king Babe Ruth. So Phineas has to convince Ruth to abandon his career as a pitcher in order for that particular timeline to occur. As Babe Ruth played for both the Red Sox and the Yankees, I thought he made for the ideal choice to be in the "As Seen On TV" spotlight today.....

Toby O'B

Sunday, May 3, 2009


My thumb was firmly pressed on the FF button during the commercial breaks for last week's "Julia" episode of 'Brothers & Sisters'; I'm like most everyone else in that regard.

But the hour zipped by even quicker by doing the same to the scenes between Kitty and Alec. Just have not the tolerance for what she's gotten herself into with this sub-plot.

Just sayin', is all.......


Toby O'B


Dan Lauria was a guy I knew back in college; I worked props on 'Inherit The Wind' while he played the Clarence Darrow-like defense attorney. He used to call me "Tim, his favorite prop man". Hey, he always came across as a tough guy even in real life, so - being the legendary Man of Gelatin - I wasn't about to correct him!

Anyhoo, if I see him listed as a guest star on a show, I'll check it out.

This past week he was on 'The Mentalist', playing Sonny Battaglia, a mobster eight years older than Dan really is.* I thought it might make for an easy "Theory of Relateeveety", to have Battaglia related via "crime family" to all of the other Battaglias I was sure to find in the IMDb. But as it turns out, there really aren't that many. The most prominent one would probably be Crunch Battaglia in the "Concrete Overcoat Affair" episode of 'The Man From U.N.C.L.E.' (as played by Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom), an "affair" which had mob connections.

Denis Arndt showed up as D.A. Frank Battaglia in 1995's sequel movie "The Return Of Hunter", a nice way for the Battaglia crime family to gain some respectability. It could be that Sonny Battaglia moved out to California to have his cousin(?) be his lawyer after Frank retired from the position of Los Angeles District Attorney.

At the very least, we can make a theory of relateeveety between Dan Lauria's two most recent mobster characters. This year he's played not only Sonny Battaglia but also Nick Masconi in the 'Leverage' episode "The Wedding Job". Considering how much the two of them look alike, and knowing from 'The Sopranos' and "The Godfather" how mobsters like to have their mistresses, I wouldn't be surprised if Sonny and Nick were half-brothers. Who knows? Maybe Crunch Battaglia is their Dad! Just sayin', is all......

Toby O'B

*While writing this up, I came across Dan's birth date. So let me point out that when we were both at UConn, I was an undergrad; he was a grad student... and leave it at that!


From Wikipedia:

'Toma' was a short-lived television series that ran on ABC in 1973 and 1974.

The series starred Tony Musante and Susan Strasberg and was based on the real-life story and published biography of Newark, New Jersey police detective David Toma. Toma had compiled an amazing arrest record during his years on the force, particularly in arresting drug dealers. Toma was known as a master of disguise and undercover work, and achieved his success while never firing his gun.

After retiring from the force, Toma became one of America's most sought after speakers, lecturing students all over the country about the dangers of drugs. Toma himself usually made a cameo appearance in episodes as a minor character (bartender, police officer, etc.).

His boss, Inspector Spooner, was played by character actor Simon Oakland.

Toma had to be a true-life cop; look at the type of place he was hanging out at! Heyoooo!

Toby O'B